Nov 082011

There was a time at the turn of the century when Consumer Reports was a valuable resource for those looking to make an objective purchasing decision. They did research and compared products based on standardized criteria (as opposed to the “I know 3 friends who say” criteria some analysts use in their reviews). As the consumer product landscape moved from “mostly mechanical” to the “mostly silicon”, the publication spiraled into Flowers for Algernon-esque sudden-onset retardation when it came to tech, with larger and larger swaths of the reviews resembling a 4th grade production of Macbeth.

One of the more recent topics on which CR was staking its faltering reputation was Antennagate, the condition under which an iPhone 4’s antenna could be attenuated by contorting your hand around the aluminum band that frames the device. When the blogosphere finally thought they found a criticism to hang on the newly-released iPhone, Steve Jobs himself dismissed the issue pretty comprehensive during a press conference held around the issue. Once he pointed out – correctly – that several major smartphone offerings suffered from the same contrived signal loss, the bloggers and tech press were left to find something else about which to foment. But Consumer Reports would not relent. After disqualifying the 4 from its vaunted “recommended” devices, even though it was the highest rated smartphone tested, it maintained its condemnation even as the device was released on Verizon with improvements to the antenna. When CR refused to recommend its highest-rated smartphone, despite universal praise for the device and everyone else’s willingness to admit Antennagate wasn’t that big of a deal, the publication’s official Luddite status was confirmed.

So even though no one gives a shit about what Consumer Reports has to say about smartphones, that hasn’t stopped them from weighing in on the iPhone 4S. And guess what? They no longer have an issue with the iPhone’s antennae! But alas, despite cleaning the clocks of all Android shartphones 6 months ago, several of the latest crop are now ranked higher because of their pocket-busting screens and battery/wallet busting 4G.

You guys don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. Why don’t you leave technology for the myriad publications that understand it and go back to rating coffee makers?

 Posted by at 11:24 am

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